Volleyball bounces back from quarantine rut

Outside hitter Ellie Kaat spikes the ball. The volleyball team won two games last weekend. Photo by Oliver Malone

The Truman State University volleyball team had a COVID-19 outbreak at the end of March. Five of the 15 players tested positive, and only four players were not in quarantine. The timing couldn’t have been worse with so many games coming up and the team’s hot streak.

Sophomore setter Rachel DeFries was one of the players who had to quarantine for 10 days. 

 “We focused on getting mentally tough so that we would be prepared to push our bodies when we go out to practice,” DeFries said. 

DeFries said the team used an app called MindSport for meditation and visualization. This helped all of the players during quarantine.

After 10 days without playing volleyball, DeFries was ready to focus on her technique and work as a team to compete in the upcoming games.

Meanwhile, only four players, including outside hitter Ellie Kaat, were able to continue practice. With only four players at practice, Kaat said it was noticeably different not having the rest of the team to get in shape or go over strategies and techniques with.

“Nothing gets you in volleyball shape as playing volleyball [does],” Kaat said.

After 10 days without playing volleyball, sophomore setter Rachel DeFries said she was ready to focus on her technique and work as a team to compete in the upcoming games. The volleyball team faces No. 1 Lewis University April 16. Photo by Oliver Malone

After leaving quarantine, the Bulldogs had only one day to train before their game against University of Missouri-St. Louis. Getting back on track was hard for the team as the break had a huge hit on their momentum. 

This was reflected in the following four games the team played after their break. 

The game against UMSL ended with a loss for our Bulldogs 0-3. The next game against Lindenwood University saw the team defeated 0-3. A day later they had another loss against Quincy University 1-3 and another loss five days later against UMSL 0-3.

Fortunately, the team was already having a good season before its quarantine. They ’Dogs were in a position to be able to drop some matches and still have a chance to compete in the postseason.

The players never gave up and improved their physical and mental strength, and it paid off with the two wins this past weekend.

With a 3-0 win against Lindenwood University and another win of 3-0 against Maryville University, the team saw their confidence come back.

Head Coach Ben Briney said the team was able to see what it can do when the players focus on their side of the net and the fundamentals of the game.

“We played some of the best volleyball we have played all year,” Briney said. “It really gave us some great momentum going into the conference tournament this weekend.”

Going into the conference tournament, the team will be playing No. 1 Lewis University this Friday, April 16.